Lawrence Weiskrantz (28 March 1926 – 27 January 2018) was a British psychologist, who discovered the phenomenon of blindsight. Blindsight is when a person with a brain injury that makes him or her blind can nevertheless detect, point accurately at, and discriminate visually presented objects.
Weiskrantz originally attended Girard College, a boarding school in Philadelphia, due in part to the death of his father when he was six. After graduating, he attended Swarthmore College and served in World War II. Shortly before his graduation, he was awarded a Catherwood fellowship at Oxford University.
Weiskrantz became Professor of Psychology at Oxford University where he remained a full professor until retirement in 1993. He then became an emeritus professor of the university and an emeritus fellow of Magdalen College. Weiskrantz had a lifelong interest in the writings and research of the Russian neuropsychologist Alexander Luria, whom he had met and befriended while Luria was still doing research. The two remained colleagues until Luria's death in 1977. Weiskrantz is generally credited with having discovered the phenomenon of blindsight following his book on this subject in 1986, which is the voluntary visually evoked response to a stimulus presented within a scotoma.
Academic and service positions he held included:
- Part-time Lecturer, Tufts University, 1952
- Research Associate, Inst. of Living, 1952–55
- Senior Postdoctoral Fellow, US National Research Council, 1955–56
- Research Associate, University of Cambridge, 1956–61
- Assistant Director of Research, Cambridge, 1961–66
- Reader in Physiological Psychology, Cambridge Univ., 1966–67.
- Founding President of the European Brain and Behaviour Society, 1969
- Professor of Psychology, Oxford University, and Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford, 1967–1993;
- Professor Emeritus, Oxford University, 1993–2018 and Emeritus Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford, 1993–2018.
- Honorary President of European Society for Philosophy and Psychology.
- Inaugural President of European Brain and Behaviour Society.
- President of Association for Scientific Study of Consciousness.
According to Neurotree, Weiskrantz supervised at least 10 PhDs, including Alan Cowey, Charles Gross, Nicholas Humphrey, Susan Iversen, and Melvyn A. Goodale. He is the academic grandfather of at least 103 PhDs.
Weiskrantz was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1980. He was on its council in 1988–1989. He was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and of Academia Europaea. Weiskrantz served on the Council of the Fyssen Foundation.
Weiskrantz was a medalist of the Royal Society of Medicine and a medalist of the American Association for Advancement of Science. He delivered the Heisenberg Lecture of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences/Siemens Foundation and the Ferrier Lecture of the Royal Society.
- Analysis of Behavioural Change, 1967
- The Neuropsychology of Cognitive Function, 1982
- Animal Intelligence, 1985
- Blindsight: A case Study and Implications, 1986 ISBN 0198521294
- Thought Without Language, 1988
- Consciousness Lost and Found, 1997
- Weiskrantz, Lawrence (1986). Blindsight: A Case Study and Implications. Oxford University Press.
- "Professor Lawrence Weiskrantz". Magdalen College - University of Oxford. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
- Weiskrantz, Lawrence (1999). Consciousness lost and found: A neuropsychological exploration (Repr. ed.). Oxford, Angleterre: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198524588.
- "Lawrence Weiskrantz". royalsociety.org. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
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